How to adjust transparency of background shapes/images in PowerPoint

You often see now that PowerPoint presentations or other slideshows use a semi-transparent background for their text. It allows the whole background image to be visible while making the text readable.

To achieve this, just create the rectangle with the fill, which you will use as your text background. Then with the rectangle selected, click Drawing, which shows up in the ribbon under the Home tab. The first panel in the pop-up is the Fill panel, and it will contain a transparency slider.

It will look something like this:

powerpoint transparent or semi-transparent background


powerpoint transparent or semi-transparent background

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Posted at 10:20 AM | 1 comments read on

The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam - Book Review

The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam is a book about using hand-drawn pictures to illustrate points and make presentations. This is one of the most stupid books I've ever seen. You have a collection here of the most idiotic illustrations you can imagine. Look at page 38 for example where he illustrates "look", "see", "imagine" and "show." Is this a joke?

Everything else is just sort of stupid. Have you ever seen a chart before? Do you know how it works? Then you probably don't need this book. A lot of it is just how to draw a chart by hand instead of using Excel. I'll give you a clue: a hand-drawn chart looks a lot like a computer-drawn chart. Duh.

back of the napkin

On p107 he talks about SQVID, which is an acronym for different ways of seeing data. But again we're just talking about common sense.

This is a stupid book. If you want to spend all your time drawing cartoon characters and charts by hand, then well knock yourself out.

What Dan Roam doesn't understand is that the power of visual thinking is primarily spatial. It's not about cartoon characters. If you are a visual thinker or want to communicate visually, all you need to use are mind maps, diagrams and charts. This fact seems to be lost on the author.

A really good book though is Slide:ology. That and Presentation Zen are very good. Slide:ology in fact covers sketching far better than Back of the Napkin does. They actually give you examples of different kinds of sketches that depict different kinds of abstract concepts. Much more helpful than sketching cartoons that "look" and "see."

Drawing by tlemermeyer


Posted at 6:28 AM | 1 comments read on

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Posted at 7:21 PM | 3 comments read on

Delphine LaLaurie - Myth, Fact, Lies and Fiction on Wikipedia

Almost everything on Wikipedia regarding Delphine LaLaurie, billed as a serial killer is fiction. There are no reputable sources at all that indicate any of the wildest claims are true.

Wikipedia lists the victims as 87 in number, including 75 later found under the floorboards (yeah right).

delphine lalaurie haunted house in new orleans

The details of the story as described in Wikipedia, most of which is pure fiction:

On April 10, 1834, during another party, a fire broke out in the kitchen of the mansion. The kitchen-- as was the norm in Spanish mansions--was separate from the home and located over the carriageway building across the courtyard. The firemen entered the building through the courtyard. To their surprise, there were two slaves chained to the stove in the kitchen. It appeared as though the slaves had set the fire themselves in order to attract attention. The fire itself was soon subdued.

The slaves directed the fire brigade to the attic. The door was bolted, forcing the fire brigade to use a battering ram to open the door. Inside the crawlspace attic was the stench of death. According to contemporary accounts, over a dozen disfigured and maimed slaves were manacled to the walls or floor. Several had allegedly been the subject of gruesome medical experiments.

The exact details are unclear; owing to the horrific nature of the crime, many details were either swept under the rug or embellished. Perhaps the most gruesome of Mme. LaLaurie's killings, was discovered by a young pickpocket by the name of Christopher Knowles. Knowles had broken into the LaLaurie residence with intention of stealing jewelry and other valuables. He broke in through the window and on the floor he discovered a bucket filled with mutilated human genetalia. Next to the bucket was a body. The body appeared to have been force fed the contents of the bucket until he eventually died from choking. LaLaurie was even reported to have tortured and killed local activist Adam Wescount, reportedly gouging out his eyes and letting crows devour his remains. One man looked as though he had been victim of some bizarre makeshift sex change. Another one had a hole in his head where a stick had been inserted to "stir his brains". A woman was trapped inside a small cage where her arms and legs had been badly broken and then reset at odd angles, making her appear as some sort of "human crab." Another woman had her arms and legs removed and patches of her flesh had been sliced off in a circular motion to make her appear as a giant caterpillar. Some had their mouths stuffed with animal excrements, sewn shut, and had then starved to death. Others had their hands sewn to different parts of their bodies. One woman had her entrails pulled out of her stomach and was secured to the floor by her own intestines. A small boy of about twelve had the flesh on half of his face peeled back, revealing muscle, veins, and so forth. The wound had since been infested with disease and insects. Two men were found to have had their tongues sewed together. One girl wore a suit made from the skin of several skinned slaves, the limbs of which were hacked and use to decorate the grand gore chamber. Most disturbing of all was an elderly man whose penis was cut into 5 equal strands, each of which was attached to a hook and the body hoist to the ceiling, with two candles placed in his eye sockets to form a macabre chandalier. Most of the victims were found dead. Those who were still alive begged to be put out of their misery and died shortly after.

Also discovered in the attic were teacups and saucers, encrusted with a "red substance." There were several bottles lying about with what was assumed to be the same red substance, later identified as blood.

The discoveries were reported and described in the papers the next day, and a mob gathered outside of the LaLaurie Mansion, demanding justice. Mme. LaLaurie escaped by horse and carriage to Bayou St. John, where she allegedly paid the captain of a schooner to carry her across to Mandeville or Covington. Many claimed they escaped to Paris. Others say they remained on the outskirts of New Orleans.

Rumor had it that when the mob rushed after the carriage, they heard screams from the house. They thought the screams came from ghosts, which led to the rumors of the haunted house. A hundred years later, the skeletons of 75 people were found during a renovation.

The only original news story available on the web paints a much more conservative picture of the scene:

"...the doors were pried open for the purpose of liberating them. Predisposed to taking this liberty, (If liberty it can be detailed) several gentlemen impelled by their feelings demanded the keys which were refused them in a gross and insulting manner. Upon entering one of the apartments the most apalling spectacle met their eyes. Several slaves more or less horribly mutilated, were seen suspended from the neck, with their limbs apparently stretched and torn from one extremity to the other. Language is powerless and inadequate to give a proper recollection of the horror which a scene like this must have inspired. We shall not attempt it, but leave it rather to the reader's imagination to picture what it was!

The slaves were the property of the demon in the shape of a woman whom we mentioned in the beginning of this article. They had been confined by her for several months in the situation from which they had thus been rescued and had merely been kept in existenceto prolong their sufferings and to make them taste all that the most refined cruelty could inflict. But why dwell upon the particulars! We feel confident that the community share with us our indignation, and that vengeance will fall, heavily full upon the guilty culprit. Without being superstitious, we cannot but regard the manner in which these atrocities have been brought to light as an especial interposition of heaven.

Since the above was in type, the populace have retired to the house of this woman and have demolished and destroyed everything upon which they could lay their hand. At the time of editing this story, the mob remained unbridled and threatens the total demolition of the entire edifice."

While still disturbing, it's a far cry from the incredible claims made on Wikipedia. Another account of the events published in 1889 in a book called Strange True Stories of Louisiana describes the events as follows:

Judge Canonge confronts Doctor Lalaurie again. "Are there slaves still in your garret Monsieur?"

And the doctor replies with insulting tone that, "There are persons who would do much better by remaining at home than visiting others to dictate to them laws in the quality of officious friends."

The search went on The victims were led or carried out The sight that met the public eye made the crowd literally groan with horror and shout with indignation We saw wrote the editor of the Advertiser next day one of these miserable beings The sight was so horrible that we could scarce look upon it The most savage heart could not have witnessed the spectacle unmoved He had a large hole in his head his body from head to foot was covered with scars and filled with worms The sight inspired us with so much horror that even at the moment of writing this article we shudder from its effects Those who have seen the others represent them to be in a similar condition One after another seven dark human forms were brought forth gaunt and wild eyed with famine and loaded with irons having been found chained and tied in attitudes in which they had been kept so long that they were crippled for life.

It must have been in the first rush of the inside throng to follow these sufferers into the open air and sunlight that the quick witted Madame Lalaurie clapped to the doors of her house with only herself and her daughters possibly the coachman also inside and nothing but locks and bars to defend her from the rage of the populace The streets under her windows Royal street here Hospital yonder and the yard were thronged Something by and by put some one in mind to look for buried bodies There had been nine slaves besides the coachman where were the other two A little digging brought their skeletons to light an adult's out of the soil and the little child's out of the condemned well there they lay But the living seven the indiscreet crowd brought them food and drink in fatal abundance and before the day was done two more were dead The others were tenderly carried shall we say it to prison to the calaboose Thither at least two thousand people flocked that day to see if they might these wretched sufferers.

That's right, she had 9 slaves. Seven were found alive, though "tortured"--probably just seriously maltreated, and two were dead and had been buried earlier. Were the LaLauries wicked? Definitely? Do they quality as serial killers? No. There were probably many other slave owners down there who treated their slaves just as bad.

Should this really be the most haunted house in America? If you actually had 75 bodies buried under the floorboards, it might qualify for being most "haunted," but in this case, only two people were known to have died (or at least been buried) in that house while the LaLauries were there.

So why all the fiction? A lot of people enjoy ghost stories, embellishing them and telling them to people who equally enjoy hearing them. There are also people who benefit from selling tours to haunted houses and so on. The Delphine LaLaurie story is not true. There are houses where far worse things have happened (think of John Wayne Gacy's house, for example, or Jeffrey Dahmer's). As for Wikipedia, this is just another reason not to trust it. The Wikinazis sho love crazy stories!

The interesting thing is that there was a discussion on Wikipedia about it, but it seems to have gone nowhere:

Examining this story, for that is what it is, using sound logic pokes it full of holes through which its brains might be stirred, as the artcle says.
First of all: All of the victims died before they could be interviewed by anyone. This seems remarkably convenient that they were able to start a fire but were too weak to survive for long afterwards.
Second of all: The victims start a fire, in the place where they are in, to gain attention, even though they are restrained and are likely to be killed by this fire.
Third: The slaves were taken away once before, and yet said nothing of the basement torture chamber or murders etc.
Fourth: Slaves were goddamn expensive! And buying 12, much less 80 some, just to kill them, would be a monumentally large misallocation of funds. Also, if they were all kept chained, how did the mansion function without its servants? Ms LaLaurie must have found time to do the dishes, cook the meals, serve the food and take care of her children inbetween being a murderess.
Fifth: Slaves are not cattle. It is impercievable that 80 people could disappear slowly, and that no one would have a clue as to what was occuring, especially considering:
Sixth: The murder chamber was on the third floor, and was run supposedly by a lady. We must therefore understand that she disposed of the bodies by carrying them down three flights of stairs on her own. She would then have to wash off her bloody garments, all without being noticed. This is impossible, and yet its never indicated that she had an accomplice.
Seventh: Anyone imprisoned in the attic of a house in New Orleans for long would have likely died of heat exhaustion long before any tortures could be performed.
Eighth: Mme. LaLaurie was clearly not present to defend herself in any way, and it is absurd that the tale can continue without further input from her, or without word of her.
Ninth: After ten or so people are found brutally tortured in her home, she is allowed to wander off freely by the constablary.
Tenth: The article claims 75 corpses were found buried on the third floor. WHAT?
For these ten reasons I believe this article must be looked at as highly suspect, as must the legend in general. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:02, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Somebody on another forum raised similiar questions about the LaLaurie myth and ghost story:

I was utterly horrified, but then you start to think about it and realise that most of it must be a folk tale. It has all the classic embellishments such as the vague suggestion that Delphine's parents were killed in a slave revolt.

And 75 skeletons, that's tonnes of decaying people inside a house. You simply wouldn't be able to live in a house with perhaps 20-30 corpses in varying states of decomposition at any one time stuffed under the floorboards. Just one corpse even with much more work put into disposal will make an unbearable stench that gets noticed, as the cases of murderers like Dennis Nielsen have shown.

Even in a large house, 75 dead people would take up an enormous amount of room and Delphine would have needed a team of servants just to help with the servants she was killing, unless someone wants to include weightlifting and DIY as her favorite hobbies to further embellish the story. Then there is the economic reality of somebody doing the equivalent of buying two cars a month and just driving them into a river since we can assume that the 75 stowed under the floor is just the tip of the iceberg it's a surprise that Delphine wasn't bankrupt.

In the end what we have here is a horror story, and an illustration of how even relatively recent history can be totally obscured and lost in myth.


Posted at 8:51 PM | 4 comments read on

How To Become an Expert

Recently, a couple of books have been contending in this space: Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin, and Malcolm Gladwell's new book Outliers: The Story of Success.

But one of the earlier studies done on this was The Making of an Expert (doc), an article in Harvard Business Review by K. Anders Ericsson, Michael J. Prietula, and Edward T. Cokely. A longer more, scientific paper, The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance(pdf), was published by Ericsson in 1993.

Highlights from The Making of an Expert:

It will take you at least a decade to achieve expertise, and you will need to invest that time wisely, by engaging in “deliberate” practice—practice that focuses on tasks beyond your current level of competence and comfort. You will need a well-informed coach not only to guide you through deliberate practice but also to help you learn how to coach yourself.

So much for my plan for being a guitar expert in two years.

Current research has revealed many other fields where there is no scientific evidence that supposed expertise leads to superior performance. One study showed that psychotherapists with advanced degrees and decades of experience aren’t reliably more successful in their treatment of randomly assigned patients than novice therapists with just three months of training are. There are even examples of expertise seeming to decline with experience. The longer physicians have been out of training, for example, the less able they are to identify unusual diseases of the lungs or heart. Because they encounter these illnesses so rarely, doctors quickly forget their characteristic features and have difficulty diagnosing them. Performance picks up only after the doctors undergo a refresher course.

How, then, can you tell when you’re dealing with a genuine expert? Real expertise must pass three tests. First, it must lead to performance that is consistently superior to that of the expert’s peers. Second, real expertise produces concrete results. Brain surgeons, for example, not only must be skillful with their scalpels but also must have successful outcomes with their patients. A chess player must be able to win matches in tournaments. Finally, true expertise can be replicated and measured in the lab. As the British scientist Lord Kelvin stated, “If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.”

Theoretical experts do not count!

Not all practice makes perfect. You need a particular kind of practice—deliberate practice—to develop expertise. When most people practice, they focus on the things they already know how to do. Deliberate practice is different. It entails considerable, specific, and sustained efforts to do something you can’t do well—or even at all. Research across domains shows that it is only by working at what you can’t do that you turn into the expert you want to become.

No shit.

Deliberate practice also requires sort of instant feedback:

This kind of deliberate practice can be adapted to developing business and leadership expertise. The classic example is the case method taught by many business schools, which presents students with real-life situations that require action. Because the eventual outcomes of those situations are known, the students can immediately judge the merits of their proposed solutions. In this way, they can practice making decisions ten to 20 times a week. War games serve a similar training function at military academies. Officers can analyze the trainees’ responses in simulated combat and provide an instant evaluation. Such mock military operations sharpen leadership skills with deliberate practice that lets trainees explore uncharted areas.

Malcom Gladwell covered that a bit, in I think, Blink.

Let’s take a closer look at how deliberate practice might work for leadership. You often hear that a key element of leadership and management is charisma, which is true. Being a leader frequently requires standing in front of your employees, your peers, or your board of directors and attempting to convince them of one thing or another, especially in times of crisis. A surprising number of executives believe that charisma is innate and cannot be learned. Yet if they were acting in a play with the help of a director and a coach, most of them would be able to come across as considerably more charismatic, especially over time. In fact, working with a leading drama school, we have developed a set of acting exercises for managers and leaders that are designed to increase their powers of charm and persuasion. Executives who do these exercises have shown remarkable improvement. So charisma can be learned through deliberate practice. Bear in mind that even Winston Churchill, one of the most charismatic figures of the twentieth century, practiced his oratory style in front of a mirror.

Fake it til you make it, boys. Duh.

The famous violinist Nathan Milstein wrote: “Practice as much as you feel you can accomplish with concentration. Once when I became concerned because others around me practiced all day long, I asked [my mentor] Professor Auer how many hours I should practice, and he said, ‘It really doesn’t matter how long. If you practice with your fingers, no amount is enough. If you practice with your head, two hours is plenty.’”

Now that quote is golden.

But two hours total isn't going to cut it:

Our research shows that even the most gifted performers need a minimum of ten years (or 10,000 hours) of intense training before they win international competitions. In some fields the apprenticeship is longer: It now takes most elite musicians 15 to 25 years of steady practice, on average, before they succeed at the international level.

Can you imagine 10,000 hours of Guitar Hero?

You better start early:

Not only do you have to be prepared to invest time in becoming an expert, but you have to start early—at least in some fields. Your ability to attain expert performance is clearly constrained if you have fewer opportunities to engage in deliberate practice, and this is far from a trivial constraint. Once, after giving a talk, K. Anders Ericsson was asked by a member of the audience whether he or any other person could win an Olympic medal if he began training at a mature age. Nowadays, Ericsson replied, it would be virtually impossible for anyone to win an individual medal without a training history comparable with that of today’s elite performers, nearly all of whom started very early. Many children simply do not get the opportunity, for whatever reason, to work with the best teachers and to engage in the sort of deliberate practice that they need to reach the Olympic level in a sport.

And you can't do it alone:

Arguably the most famous violin teacher of all time, Ivan Galamian, made the point that budding maestros do not engage in deliberate practice spontaneously: “If we analyze the development of the well-known artists, we see that in almost every case the success of their entire career was dependent on the quality of their practicing. In practically every case, the practicing was constantly supervised either by the teacher or an assistant to the teacher.”

Research on world-class performers has confirmed Galamian’s observation. It also has shown that future experts need different kinds of teachers at different stages of their development. In the beginning, most are coached by local teachers, people who can give generously of their time and praise. Later on, however, it is essential that performers seek out more-advanced teachers to keep improving their skills. Eventually, all top performers work closely with teachers who have themselves reached international levels of achievement.

Learn by imitating the masters:

Benjamin Franklin provides one of the best examples of motivated self-coaching. When he wanted to learn to write eloquently and persuasively, he began to study his favorite articles from a popular British publication, the Spectator. Days after he’d read an article he particularly enjoyed, he would try to reconstruct it from memory in his own words. Then he would compare it with the original, so he could discover and correct his faults. He also worked to improve his sense of language by translating the articles into rhyming verse and then from verse back into prose. Similarly, famous painters sometimes attempt to reproduce the paintings of other masters.

Anyone can apply these same methods on the job. Say you have someone in your company who is a masterly communicator, and you learn that he is going to give a talk to a unit that will be laying off workers. Sit down and write your own speech, and then compare his actual speech with what you wrote. Observe the reactions to his talk and imagine what the reactions would be to yours. Each time you can generate by yourself decisions, interactions, or speeches that match those of people who excel, you move one step closer to reaching the level of an expert performer.

Experts and even geniuses are made not born:

Nobody questions that Mozart’s achievements were extraordinary compared with those of his contemporaries. What’s often forgotten, however, is that his development was equally exceptional for his time. His musical tutelage started before he was four years old, and his father, also a skilled composer, was a famous music teacher and had written one of the first books on violin instruction. Like other world-class performers, Mozart was not born an expert—he became one.


Posted at 9:53 PM | 0 comments read on

Are you sleeping too much? Or not enough?

How much sleep do you really need? The answer may surprise you:

People who get five to seven hours of sleep nightly are almost twice as likely to develop early signs of blood-vessel damage as those who get more rest, according to a five-year study published in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association. Those who regularly sleep less than five hours a night are at even higher risk.

Abnormal sleep patterns skew the release of appetite-related hormones, which may contribute to obesity and diabetes, earlier studies showed. Today’s research is the first to suggest a shorter night’s sleep may have a more direct and damaging effect on heart health, said Diane Lauderdale, the University of Chicago epidemiologist who led the research team.

“There’s mounting evidence that really short sleep duration, as in less than five hours a night, may well have health consequences,” she said Dec. 22 in a telephone interview. “It’s pretty safe to say that it’s a good idea to get more than five hours of sleep a night.”

Basically you need seven, but not more than that:
However, the scientists also found that sleeping more than 7 hours a night may also be bad for us. Among the civil servants who increased their nightly sleeping period from 7 hours per night to 8 hours per night or more, the overall mortality rate more than doubled! In this case, cardiovascular problems did not seem to be the main cause of death. The scientist are still trying to establish what lies behind these findings, and what is the true reason for these high mortality rates in well-rested people. In any case, based on these results, it seems clear that sleeping too much is also not recommended.

Another study found similar results.

What Hammond had not expected to find was that the death rates from heart attacks and strokes were higher for both men and women if they regularly slept more than seven hours a night. Seven seemed to be the ideal number of sleep hours; there were only slightly higher than average death rates for people who got less sleep. But among those who slept eight hours, women under 50 had a 53% above normal death rate from heart attacks, and both men and women under 50 had increases of more than 40% in the death rate from strokes. With nine hours' sleep, both sexes had generally but not consistently higher death rates. With ten hours' sleep, the death rate for women over 70 increased 167%, while for men aged 50 to 59, it increased 286%.

But I find it implausible that everybody requires the same amount of sleep. Some people get by just fine on 3 hours, some seem to need 9 hours. I think you have to figure for for yourself how much you need. Generally speaking as long as you are regular about when you go to sleep, your body will wake up at the right time.

But it's important to keep in mind that you can get TOO MUCH sleep. Most people just think lack of sleep or sleep deprivation is a health risk, but so is oversleeping.

The best way to sleep is to skip the nightlife and turn in at 10. If you're a normal healthy adult, you will end up waking up around 4 or 5, and that's all the sleep you need.

If you get tired in the afternoon, don't take a nap. How many times has that 15 minute powernap turned into a 2-hour sleepfest? If that happens it ruins your sleep cycle. Instead just schedule active things for the time of the day when you are likely to be tired. In other words, do something physical, or drink some caffeine or whatever you need to do so stay awake. And eat the lightest of lunches. That helps. Fortunately that phase of the day is just a temporary phase. As long as you get over that little hump, the rest of the day is fine and you should have plenty of energy.


Posted at 5:49 PM | 1 comments read on

Blogger Tag Clouds (How to make a tag cloud on Blogger)

Instructions for setting up tag clouds on Blogger hosted blogs (blogspot):

Here's one way to do it.

And another way to do it.

blogger tag cloud

It won't work if you're running the old school templates. You need to use one of the new templates where you can enable the widgets. The basic mechanism is that you replace the "labels" widget with the customized code. "Labels" are Blogger's terminology for what everybody else calls tags.

Leave a comment if you have any problems!


Posted at 10:40 PM | 0 comments read on

How to add a subdomain on HostGator

The instructions for adding a subdomain on HostGator this are the same whether you're adding a subdomain to your main domain or adding a subdomain to an addon domain:

Subdomains are URLs for different sections of your website. They use your main domain name and a prefix. For example, if your domain is a sub-domain of your domain might be .

Subdomains are relative to your account's home directory. The icon signifies your home directory which is /home/x.

The form looks like this:
Add Subdomain to Addon Domain on HostGator

All you need to do is enter the subdomain you want and select the domain name that you want it to be a subdomain of from the dropdown list on the right. And voila, you have a subdomain! The last field is autocompleted for you once you enter the name of the subdomain.

Leave a comment if you have any problems!

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Posted at 5:10 PM | 4 comments read on

How to make Chicken Liver Pate and Mousse

This is a collection of recipes collected from the internets:

This one sounds good:

I knew that our chickens were not capable of producing those huge pale livers, but I thought perhaps I could do something else to achieve a similar great-tasting dish. I began by coating livers generously with sea salt and black pepper, then pan-seared them in olive oil at a high temperature. When they were dark brown on the outside but still rare inside, I removed them and added some diced apples to the hot skillet: they caramelized instantly. I poured in Calvados, cognac, and cream. Finally, I pureed the cooled livers and apples with toasted walnuts. The last ingredient is all-important: a good dose of sweet butter. While the result, served with toasted walnut bread, does not taste exactly like Blanc's mousse, it has its own charm.

2 pounds fresh chicken livers, preferably organic, trimmed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound baking apples, such as Rome Beauty or Gala
4 shallots
1 cup walnuts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Calvados or bourbon
1/4 cup cognac
1 cup heavy cream
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
Toasted slices of walnut bread or good pumpernickel or white country bread
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Liberally coat the livers with sea salt and pepper; set aside on a plate. Peel and core the apples and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Chop the shallots.

3. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and lightly toast in the oven, 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally; transfer to a plate.

4. In a large heavy enameled or other nonreactive skillet, heat the oil until it almost begins to smoke. Add the livers and stir them rapidly to sear, then cook for about 4 minutes, turning once. Remove the livers to a plate just when they become mahogany colored.

5. Add the apples and shallots to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Turn off the heat, and carefully pour in the Calvados and cognac. Stir in the cream.

6. Melt the butter and let cool.

7. Combine the livers, apple mixture, and walnuts in a blender and puree just until the mixture is homogenous. Add the melted butter and blend well, then season to taste with salt and pepper. If you want the mousse to be very smooth, pass it through a fine-mesh sieve. Taste again for salt and pepper, transfer to a ceramic crock, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Serve with the walnut toast.

Once you have the pate you can make a nice pate sandwich from it. Check it:

The chowhounds also have an interesting discussion about pate sandwiches.

Pate and cornichon seems to make a good sandwich combo. That blog also has a couple mroe yummy looking sandwiches.

Do you have a good recipe for chicken liver pate? Or another way of eating chicken liver?


Posted at 7:49 PM | 0 comments read on

How to Trim Chicken Liver

If you are cooking a pate or mousse or something with chicken liver, you need to trim it. Otherwise it will make your chicken liver dish bitter.

So how do you do it? Chicken liver comes in two lobes. You have to trim away all of the white connective tissue and nerves ("threads") and any parts that are greenish ("gall").

I didn't think it was important the first time I made pate and it came out bitter, so this is something you NEED to do.

Do you eat chicken liver?


Posted at 7:46 PM | 1 comments read on

Changing your main domain name on HostGator

If you want to change your primary or main domain name on HostGator, you need to navigate to the Change Domain Form.

WARNING: Because of cPanel limitations, make sure you backup and remove any addon/parked/subdomains from the account before submitting this form, or else this domain change will fail.

how to change primary domain name on hostgator

I can't believe they charge you $5, when it's their fault that they didn't mention it in the beginning when you purchased their services. If you don't know have experience with HostGator or CPanel, then you're going to run into this problem if you host more than one site on your HostGator account.

HostGator uses CPanel which expects your main site files to be directly under the public_html/ directory. If you have more than one site, you can see how you're going to have a problem. Everbody not crazy wants to have separate folders for each site (the way it is in MediaTemple, and also, I think, Dreamhost).

But imagine how you're going to manage everything if you have separate folders in each site along with all the files that go with the main site, all under public_html

So it's nonsense, and I'm upset at HostGator for not mentioning anything about this when I signed up. And now as though it's not an inconvenience enough for me to "backup and remove any addon/parked/subdomains from the account" they also want me to pay $5, for a problem that they created.

I'm not happy about it. Are you? Please leave a comment!

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Posted at 10:06 PM | 4 comments read on